What a long, windy road it has been for Jeff Garcia. The righthanded quarterback played for San Jose State from 1991 to 1993. In 30 career games for the Spartans, Jeff had 6545 yards on 887 attempts, and 48 TD throws. He joined the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL in 1994 backing up legendary Doug Flutie. He’d get to show his stuff in 1995 after Doug got injured and performed admirably for the team. Jeff always demonstrated this uncanny ability to buy time with his feet. The Stampeders became so comfortable with Garcia at QB, they let Flutie leave and sign with the Argos. Jeff played for Calgary through the 1998 season winning the 86th Grey Cup and the MVP award. Afterwards Garcia decided to take another shot at the NFL- signing with the San Fransisco 49ers.
With the 49ers Jeff was in a similar situation backing up Hall of Famer Steve Young at quarterback. Again, just like in Calgary, Jeff was thrust into the lineup when Steve was injured in 1999. People sort of (and still do) muse about how badly CFL talent translates to the NFL, but Jeff was the exception. He’d go on to earn 3 Pro Bowl appearances in 5 seasons. After being released in 2004, Jeff began the journeyman phase of his career. He then had stops in Cleveland (2004), Detroit (2005), and Philadelphia (2006) where he led them to a division title in relief of injured Donovan McNabb. In 2007 Garcia was signed by the Buccaneers earning his 4th career Pro Bowl appearance. While playing for the Bucs, he returned them to a level of respectability posting a 14-10 record for the team. He’d be cut by the Bucs and sign with the Raiders for 2009. Frustrated with his role in mentoring Jamarcus Russell, he asked for his release. Garcia was later signed as an insurance, back with the Eagles for roughly two weeks.
Unable to find a team for 2010 but still wanting to play, Jeff took a shot with the United Football League. The league was banking on pulling in star power and an extended NFL lockout the following season to help boost their bottom line. Jeff signed with the Omaha Nighthawks, leading the team to an exciting 27-26 opening day victory over the Hartford Colonials, and the following week a 20-17 win over the Sacramento Mountain Lions. For his efforts Garcia earned UFL Player of the Week Honors for his comeback victories. The Nighthawks were a pleasant surprise for the league and sold out recently renovated Rentschler Stadium every week of the season. He did not return to the UFL for 2011.
After an injury to starter Matt Schaub, and then later backup Matt Leinart, Jeff was signed by the Houston Texans along with Jake Delhomme to back up TJ Yates for the final 2 contests of the 2011 NFL season, but did not see any action. As late as 2013 Garcia claimed that he still has the heart and the desire to play. I tried to get his autograph at that time through the Texans, but I was unable to land him. I then found another address for him in California, and shot out some customs, but again was unable to get his autograph there.
Jeff was signed to be on the advisory board of the ‘New USFL’ and has expressed an interest in working with quarterbacks refining their mechanics. Just like that Jeff was already back in the CFL as a QB coach for the Montreal Allouettes in 2014. In 2015 he joined the St. Louis Rams as an offensive assistant, where I finally got his autograph on these two cards. He is also a noted philanthropist of the sport as well. His brother Aaron is a noted quarterback and coach in Arena Football.
Jeff Garcia is one of these guys that I am really happy to get a response from. Sure a lot of it had to do with persistence, but he’s just so underrated. People just don’t get that there are some players out there that have the heart of a champion and live and love the sport. I think Jeff Garcia embodies it. Jeff will probably never get into the ‘Pro Football Hall of Fame’ which is an absolute crime, because cumulatively, if you add up his statistics from all the leagues he’s played in, Garcia is one of 10 players in football history with more than 30 TDs in back to back seasons. Garcia’s accomplishment takes on all the more significance when you realize he did this on the 49ers. It wasn’t Joe Montana, Steve Young, or John Brodie. It was Jeff Garcia. He also has a 99 yard TD to his name (to Andre Davis), and greater than 43000 career passing yards.
CFL ATT 2024 COMP 1249 YDS 16442 PCT 61.7
TD 111 INT 52 RAT 94.9
RUSH 384 YDS 2358 AVG 6.1 TD 24 LG 46
NFL 131 ATT 3676 COMP 2264 YDS 25537 PCT 61.6
TD 161 INT 83 RAT 87.5
RUSH 468 YDS 2140 AVG TD 26 LG 33
UFL 8/8 ATT 255 COMP 132 YDS 1321 PCT 51.8
TD 9 INT 11 RAT 88.3
RUSH 24 YDS 68 AVG 2.8 TD 0 LG 14